Photos Elana Scherr
VISTA, Calif (May 4, 2018) – After a 50 year delay drag racing legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme found his redemption in the desert finishing the grueling five day Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 presented by Method Race Wheels. The four-time NHRA Funny Car champion and drag racing legend along with co-driver Canadian Shane Chatwell drove his JEGS 2018 Polaris RZR 1000 prepped by P.J. Jones of PJ’s Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz., to a tenth place finish in the Stock Turbo UTV class of the off-road rally run by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA).
“It was a hell of a run I can tell you that,” said an exhausted but satisfied Prudhomme after the race. “It was a thousand miles worth of trails, dirt roads, rocks, boulders and massive dust clouds. You name it we saw it in the desert. It was unbelievable. Just to make it to the finish line is an achievement. It was just a hell of an experience and I can’t even really put it into words how tough it was.”
Cars, trucks, UTVs and bikes all crossed the final finish line at the conclusion of a journey that took competitors from Ensenada, all the way to San Jose Del Cabo during five days of racing. The sense of relief and accomplishment was evident when Prudhomme described some of his adventures on the course.
“We got hit and we hit other race cars. You just couldn’t see out there because the dust clouds were just massive. You had to drive at night and my co-driver saved my ass. We were racing full speed using GPS and massive off-road lights. I have to thank JEGS and PJ Performance for making this happen. Getting the medal at the end is something I will cherish forever,” added Prudhomme.
Prudhomme drove 1,100 of the 1,300 mile-course (including transitions and connecting roads) and crossed the finish line to take the checkered flag with a total time of 29:28:06. The rookie off-road competitor was just three minutes behind his nearest competitor.
In 1968, Prudhomme entered the Mexican 1000 Baja race in a Porsche-powered buggy built by racing innovator Tony Nancy and owned by actor Steve McQueen. Shortly before the race, McQueen had a movie conflict so Nancy reached out to Prudhomme to fill the seat as the co-driver. Prudhomme and Nancy had crossed paths through their successful drag racing careers. Now, 50 years later, with help from JEGS High Performance Mail Order, Prudhomme is returning to Baja competition in the 2018 Mexican 1000 – and he’s out for redemption.
“It is a blessing in disguise that we didn’t run this race in 1968. We didn’t have anything with us then. No gas. No support vehicles. Who knows if I would have even had a career. I could have wound up a pile of bones in the desert if we had started that race,” confessed Prudhomme.